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SaturdaySeptember 8, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Police Discover Arsenal After Child Brought Firearm Into Mexican School

Police Discover Arsenal After Child Brought Firearm Into Mexican School

Photo: Police discovered an arsenal

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Mexican police and soldiers confiscated an arsenal in the northwestern state of Sonora in an operation stemming from reports about a child carrying a firearm into his school, authorities said.

State authorities said in a bulletin Friday that an anonymous caller informed them the day before that a nine-year-old boy had carried the weapon into school and that state and municipal police had been dispatched to the scene.

The municipal officers secured the weapon while state police went to the boy’s home to investigate, the bulletin said.

Before arriving at the residence, the officers observed a man with a gun running toward the inside of the home and began pursuing him.

The police confiscated a 9 mm pistol that the individual had thrown on the ground and questioned a woman, Brenda Marisela Arellano Rojas, who allowed the officers to search the interior of the home. Soldiers also arrived and stood guard outside the residence.

The police found an AR-15 rifle, cartridges of different calibers, 96 ammunition clips, 13 handguns, 7 rifles, 76 portable radios and other communications gear, four bulletproof vests, money-counting machines, several military uniforms and other items.

Two more AR-15 rifles and a handgun were found in three vehicles discovered on the premises.

The man was not located inside the house, but Arellano was arrested and turned over to federal prosecutors and the weapons were confiscated.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Europe’s Longest-Living Man Passes Away in Spain at Age 111

Europe’s Longest-Living Man Passes Away in Spain at Age 111

Photo: Francisco Fernandez Fernandez

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The man considered the longest-lived person in Europe has died in Spain. He was 111.

Francisco Fernandez Fernandez, known as “Quico,” died suddenly at home Friday in the small town of Pinilla de la Valderia in the northern province of Leon.

Though he was born July 24, 1901, he normally celebrated his birthday a day later on the feast of St. James with his whole family gathered around him, as he did this year as well surrounded by three children, seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter, to celebrate his 111th year.

On his last birthday one of his grandchildren said, in a statement to Efe, that grandpa was in good health.

Fernandez lived through the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War, the Franco dictatorship, industrialization and Spain’s return to democracy.

In his long life he was a shepherd, emigrated to Argentina and later returned to his home country where he took up farming, harvested resin and lumbered pinewood in a forest devasted just days ago by the worst wildfire in the Castile and Leon region in the last 10 years.

He treated his many visitors to countless anecdotes, though not all of them happy memories, like the time in 1936 when he had to bury reprisal victims found dead on a hill during the Spanish Civil War.

Or like when he was a child herding sheep and got lost in the snow, spent more than 24 hours wandering on the mountain and, as he told it, almost froze to death.

The more than 100 years of Francisco Fernandez were even the subject of a study by the Harvard University Medical School.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican University President Relied on Fake Diploma for 15 Years

Mexican University President Relied on Fake Diploma for 15 Years

Photo: Juan Miguel Ramirez Sanchez

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Mexico’s Juan Miguel Ramirez Sanchez worked 15 years at the University of Guanajuato and rose to be president of one of its campuses - until he was found to have no university degree that would justify that position, academic officials told Efe.

“When we made the discovery we talked to him, the case was presented to him and he chose to resign not only his position but from the university as well,” Luis Manuel Orozco, director of legal affairs at the college, told Efe.

Though he resigned last May, the news was not made public until now because the school filed a criminal complaint against Ramirez with the Guanajuato state Attorney General’s Office for crimes of falsely assuming a professional position, and was in the process of investigating the matter.

According to Orozco, the university began its investigation after receiving several anonymous tips that Ramirez Sanchez’s degree in Economics awarded by the University of Puebla in 1981 was a fake.

“We asked Human Resources for his records, the Distinguished Autonomous University of Puebla, or BUAP, was solicited for a report, and the Education Secretariat was asked to check on the authenticity of his professional certificate. The BUAP replied that no document was found in the school files showing he had ever studied there,” Orozco said.

Ramirez Sanchez entered the University of Guanajuato 15 years ago as a professor and in his career was promoted to director of the Accounting and Business Administration School at the Celaya-Salvatierra campus, one of the four campuses the university has, until he became university president there in the year 2008.

When he handed in his resignation, the then-president was a candidate for reelection, since the post has a term of four years.

“We’re sad because we have a very valuable staff…and this will have very disagreeable consequences for the institution,” Orozco said.

In Mexico the purchase of forged degrees is common, and there are not a few sites on the Internet selling certificates for any profession as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees for a fee of as much as 15,000 pesos ($1,555) each.

The total procedure can be backed with the appropriate academic resume, diploma and professional certificate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tequila Party Responds to Recent Supreme Court Decision to Arizona SB 1070

Tequila Party Responds to Recent Supreme Court Decision to Arizona SB 1070

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The National Tequila Party Movement responded to the Supreme Court’s June 2012 decision with regard to SB 1070 when they wrote:

“…The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution is alive and well today.  The US Supreme Court clearly reaffirmed that immigration is within the preview of federal jurisdiction only.  Arizona completely lost on the question of 1) undocumented immigrant registration; 2) undocumented immigrant employment; 3) law enforcement officers arresting without a warrant.  The 4th provision regarding “papers please” was only narrowly upheld because the Court does not have the necessary facts to determine if the law is valid. The Court stated, “This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.”  In other words the Court did not have the necessary facts in front of them at this time, but the issue is being left with the door wide open.”

In other words, (even though the Supreme Court did not uphold most of SB 1070) the Court could not throw out the 4th provision — and it is predictable that Susan Bolton did not have much of a choice because they needed to see a case where someone is discriminated against.  If you read the Supreme Court decision of June 2012, the Supreme Court in essence stated it was premature to throw out the 4th section of SB 1070, but would entertain other challenges to this if someone is racially profiled against. They clearly invited challenges to the way it is applied.

The National Tequila Party Movement encourage brown-skinned individuals, or any other person of color to do the following if they feel their Civil Rights have been violated.


The Department of Justice has set up hotline phone numbers for fielding inquiries about how people can report potential civil rights violations in Arizona and/or have additional questions for DOJ about the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona SB 1070 immigration law.

1) Hotline to Report Civil Rights Violations:
Phone: 855-353-1010
Email: Sb1070@usdoj.gov

2) Additional Inquiries regarding the SCOTUS Decision:
Phone: 202-514-3465
Email: oipl@usdoj.gov

Read more by HS News Staff →

Penelope Cruz Vows To Produce Films in Spain To Stimulate Economy

Penelope Cruz Vows To Produce Films in Spain To Stimulate Economy

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Spanish actress Penelope Cruz said in an interview published Saturday by Italian daily La Stampa that she plans to produce at least two films a year in her homeland to create jobs amid sky-high unemployment.

“I want to bring jobs to my people ... I’ll use my privileged position. It’s what interests me the most right now. I know it’s a grain of sand in the desert, but it’s a responsibility I think I have,” Cruz said.

“I’ll produce a couple of films a year. A way to give work to hundreds of people. It’s a set idea I have.”

Cruz, winner of a best-supporting actress Oscar for her role as an unstable artist in Woody Allen’s 2008 comedy-drama “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” said she has worked hard but also has had a lot of opportunities in life.

The talents of “an entire generation of highly trained young people” are being wasted, Cruz said, adding that though they have lots to offer there is nothing for them to do but “bang their heads against the wall or go out in the street and protest.”

“The disaster in Spain and the problems in Italy are visible to everyone, but also think about what’s happening in Syria or Africa. It’s unacceptable, painful and sad. Like Robert Redford said, today the world’s not a good place,” Cruz said.

Regarding the global economic slowdown, the actress said the decisions governments have adopted to solve the problem “are wrong-headed and are creating more and more desperation.”

Referring specifically to Spain, she said only that she is in “total disagreement” with the policies of conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s administration.

Spain’s economy has been battered in recent years by the collapse of a massive real-estate bubble in the context of the 2008-2009 global recession. The country also is seeking to bring its budget deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product into line with European Union mandates.

The Rajoy government has opted for a series of austerity measures since taking office last December, arguing that fulfilling the deficit objective is the first step out of the crisis.

Those measures have been harshly criticized by unions and sparked massive street protests.

Cruz, best known for her work with Allen and Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, most recently finished filming “Venuto al mondo” (Twice Born), an Italian-Spanish co-production directed by Sergio Castellitto.

She told the Italian daily her role of Gemma in that film and the character she played in Almodovar’s “Volver” (To Return) have been the two most challenging of her career.

Read more by HS News Staff →

UN-backed Commission Presents Plan to Combat Impunity in Guatemala

UN-backed Commission Presents Plan to Combat Impunity in Guatemala

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A United Nations-backed commission today presented a strategic work plan at the world body’s Headquarters in New York outlining efforts to combat impunity in Guatemala and support the country’s justice system.

The plan presented by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (known by the Spanish-language acronym CICIG) focuses on four areas to improve the rule of law in the Latin American nation: reducing impunity rates, coordinating Government efforts to fight criminality, eradicating and preventing the emergence of illegal security forces, and raising awareness of the impact that impunity has on a democratic society.

The United Nations and the Guatemalan Government set up CICIG in 2006 as an independent body to support the public prosecutors’ office, the national civilian police and other institutions to investigate a limited number of sensitive and difficult cases regarding illegal security groups and clandestine security organizations and also dismantle them.

Based in Guatemala City, the capital, since it began operations in early 2008, CICIG seeks to bolster the rule of law and is permitted by its mandate to conduct independent investigations and help authorities bring representative cases to trial in national courts.

Accompanying the presentation of the work plan to UN Member States was a high-level delegation of Guatemalan Government and judicial officials, including the nation’s Vice-President and Interior Minister, Attorney General and the presidents of the Congress and Supreme Court.

During the plan’s presentation by Commissioner Francisco Javier Dall’Anese Ruiz, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, said the UN Secretariat greatly values the Commission’s work and believes the Commission’s its efforts deserve the strong support of the international community.

According to a new release issued by CICIG, the plan is backed by the Guatemalan authorities as well as Member States who have an interest in supporting the country’s justice system.

In the news release, CICIG added that it has progressed greatly with regard to the investigation and criminal prosecution of cases of corruption, money laundering, extra-judicial killings and drug trafficking involving high-ranking State officials and former State officials, businesspersons and illegal drug traffickers.

This has led to 135 persons being linked to proceedings on different charges, the Commission noted.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Survival Denounces Venezuela’s ‘Whitewash’ of Yanomami ‘Massacre’

Survival Denounces Venezuela’s ‘Whitewash’ of Yanomami ‘Massacre’

Photo: Yanomami Indians in the Amazon (Fiona Watson/Survival)

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Survival has denounced the Venezuelan government’s repeated denials of a massacre against Yanomami Indians, calling on President Chávez to evict all illegal goldminers from indigenous territory and conduct a proper, on-site investigation.

The President is the latest senior Venezuelan official to insist there is no evidence of an attack on the Irotatheri community, in a remote part of the Amazon, close to the border with Brazil.

However, the Organization of American States has now joined Survival and indigenous organizations in the Amazon, in urging Venezuela to ‘conduct a thorough investigation to conclusively determine what happened.’

On Monday, the Coordinating body of Indigenous Organizations of Amazonia (COIAM) released a declaration recognizing the efforts of the investigation, but expressing their concern that the commission ‘did not reach Irotatheri Shapono, the place where the alleged events took place in July.’

Witnesses of the attack’s aftermath reported finding ‘burnt bodies and bones’.

Read more at Survival International →

IACHR Condemns Murder of Brazilian Human Rights Lawyer

IACHR Condemns Murder of Brazilian Human Rights Lawyer

Photo: Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira

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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing of Human Rights Defender Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira, attorney and member of the Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association in São Paulo, in the city of Caraguatatuba, state of São Paulo, Brazil.

According to information received by the IACHR, on August 23, 2012, Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira was killed in front of his residence with fourteen shots by two unidentified persons who fled the crime scene in a motorcycle. The information available indicates that Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira had made formal complaints concerning alleged acts of corruption and abuse against convicts confined in the Temporary Detention Centre in Caraguatatuba.

In the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, the Commission expressed its concern on the reprisals against human rights defenders for filing complaints and/or making public acts of corruption of civil servants and human Rights violations.

The IACHR calls to mind that it is the State’s obligation to investigate such acts of its own accord and to punish those responsible. The Commission urges the State of Brazil to investigate and legally clarify this crime, and to punish the perpetrators and masterminds.

Therefore, the IACHR urges the State to open lines of investigation that take into consideration if the murder of Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira was committed for reasons related to his work monitoring acts of corruption in the city of Caraguatatuba. The Commission also urges the government to immediately and urgently adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the rights to life, integrity and security of human rights defenders who perform their work in public office, in social leadership and/or in an elected position.

Read more by HS News Staff →

We Must Win the Real World Hunger Games - by Michael Zacka

We Must Win the Real World Hunger Games - by Michael Zacka

Photo: We Must Win the Real World Hunger Games - by Michael Zacka

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Thankfully, we’re still a long way from the dystopian world depicted in the best-selling “The Hunger Games” trilogy, where food is used as a coercive political tool. Nevertheless, we have reason to be concerned about the geopolitical consequences of world food supplies running low, as analysts predict they will, following yet another summer of extreme weather, including record-breaking drought in the U.S.

As we’ve seen over the past several years, food shortages and rising food prices can cause destabilizing stress here and worldwide. America is the world’s largest grain exporter, and, as the 2012 drought marches on, escalating damage to its corn and soybean harvest will be felt around the world in higher prices—particularly for meat from corn-fed pigs and cattle. Food shortages are a strong possibility in the world’s poorest nations, according to Oxfam and other NGOs, but working families here will also feel the pinch in their grocery budgets.

Simply put, those of us in the food industry are facing down a perfect storm of challenges that will require an earnest and thoughtful approach from all quarters: all hands on deck from farm to processing, packaging and market. How will we meet a rapidly growing demand for food—especially since there’s even more to the issue?

In the immediate future, a central issue in emerging economies is hunger and poverty. In 2011, world food prices went up by some 37 percent during the Russian wheat crisis, driving 44 million people into poverty, according to the World Bank. This year, the effects of drought may signal more of the same for food prices in coming months.


Changing demographics are also putting new strains on our food supply, as millions of “up and coming” consumers in places like India and China buy more milk and meat to reflect newly middle class tastes, as chronicled in the Journal of Nutrition. In just this decade, there will be a 30 percent increase in global demand for milk, Tetra Pak’s own dairy index forecasts.

Furthermore, food crops and farmland are increasingly being diverted into biofuel production around the globe, making commodity crops scarcer and more expensive. In 2009, U.S. corn prices were more than 20 percent higher because of ethanol driven demand, according to a study by the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development.

Meanwhile, as last month’s World Population Day reminded us, we have over 7 billion mouths to feed. According to 2010 statistics (the last year available), about 14 percent, some 925 million, are already going hungry, including nearly 49 million in the U.S. at that time. And we have to make a place at the table for the 9 million-plus projected by 2050. To do so, we’ll have to ramp up production by 70 percent, according to United Nations estimates.

The challenges are serious, and meeting them will require a multi-faceted approach. First, we need to take climate change and the potential effects of global warming seriously, and work on reducing carbon emissions still further.

Climate scientists predict extreme weather events with the potential to disrupt the food supply - including floods and droughts - will be far more common in the coming years. The International Governmental Panel on Climate Change recently released a clarion call to policymakers on this subject called Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters To Advance Climate Change Adaptation.

In its own business practices, Tetra Pak endeavors to operate as responsibly and sustainably as possible and has set clear and ambitious goals for reducing its own carbon emissions. Between 2005 and 2010, our company reduced its carbon footprint by nearly 13 percent while, at the same time, our production increased by more than 23 percent. Moving forward, our goal is to cap carbon emissions at 2010 levels by the end of 2020 while continuing to grow. With our forecasted annual growth rate achieving this goal would require a 40 per cent relative reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions.

In addition to mitigating climate change, we must also conserve and protect both water and farmland, which, as the Food and Agriculture Organization urges, should include a serious cost-benefit analysis of diverting crops into biofuels. As the FAO outlines in its report “How to Feed the World in 2050,” we must also encourage investment in the agricultural infrastructure and research and development in the developing countries where most of the rising population will be born.

Price spikes hurt people in developing nations more, since they spend a much higher fraction of their incomes on food. As this graphic from the Gates Foundation shows, U.S. households spend about 6 percent of their total expenditures on food, as compared with 35 percent in India and 45 percent in Kenya.

As a result, a forty percent uptick in food prices in developing parts of the world is beyond devastating—it’s destabilizing.

With that in mind, ensuring food security in developing countries, where much of the population growth is forecast, becomes even more vital. This booming population will live almost exclusively in cities, which means they will rely on supermarkets and, therefore, packaged foods.

But delivering a safe food supply presents unique challenges in developing nations, including limited availability of refrigeration, which requires energy and special equipment in transit, at retail outlets and in homes. However, transporting and storing food safely in those countries is a challenge that can be overcome with innovative technologies like Tetra Pak’s aseptic packaging.

Consumers of all income levels in Asia and Europe already buy milk and other food this way, in shelf-stable cartons, which can be stored for six months without refrigeration or preservatives. Increasingly, moms in the U.S. and Canada are turning to the convenience and portability of aseptic packaging, since it permits individual-serve milk boxes to be packed in moms’ diaper bags and kids’ backpacks without worries about spoilage, or stored in the refrigerator for the after-school set to grab for a snack. Happily, the benefits of this safe-food technology are also a boon to the developing world, where refrigeration is frequently not an option.

Everyone who engages in the business of growing, storing, packaging and selling food is being called on to creatively adapt to the tremendous food security challenges that are staring us in the face. That means we must all hunker down, collaborate and innovate to win the real world hunger games.

Image source: The U.S. Drought Monitor is a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Could Enrique Iglesias Be Next ‘American Idol’ Judge?

Could Enrique Iglesias Be Next ‘American Idol’ Judge?

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Enrique Iglesias might be the next judge to join Mariah Carey behind the table for American Idol’s 12th season.

Sources reveaked to EW that the Latin singer received a firm offer for a judging position.

The publication reported rumors last week of Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban also may judge the singing competition, meaning that the judges would represent four different genres of music: pop, country, hip-hop and Latin.

The only judge confirmed by Fox producers is Carey.

According to Rolling Stone, the Roman Reloaded rapper addressed judging rumors at the VMAs Thursday.

“You know something, I don’t know yet. I really don’t know. I have no comment on it,” Minaj said.

When pressed if it was the show’s decision or her’s, she replied, “Everything in my life, every opportunity is always my decision.”

Iglesias has received an offer from The X Factor in the past, and was reportedly talking with NBC about The Voice.

The Latin singer just wrapped a tour with ex-Idol judge Jennifer Lopez.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Noella Continues to Rise on Top 40 Billboard Dance Charts

No stranger to the Latin Music scene, this sultry artist is now climbing the mainstream Billboard Charts with not only one but two of her English language U.S. single debuts. Noelia, daughter to Puerto Rican singer and actress Yolandita Monge has a vast history of musical success in the Latin & International markets and is now geared and ready to conquer the American charts.

Noelia’s self-titled full album was released in 1999, making her debut at the Madison Square Garden. The album produced the hit single “Tu” (“You”), which sold over a million copies and was awarded Song of the Year and Album of the Year by Billboard. It was then followed by the hit “Candela” (“Hot Stuff”) which was named Song of the Summer in Spain, Italy and other Countries.

Since that successful launch, Noelia has proved a true hit-maker, the “Pop Star of the People” in Latin and International markets. She has achieved nine Billboard Top 40 hits, earned 18 worldwide gold albums and nine worldwide multi-platinum certified albums. She has sold more than 4.5 million albums worldwide. In addition to one certified (RIAA) gold record in the US, Noelia has been widely embraced in Europe and voted “International Singer of the Year” in Italy at the prestigious festival bar.

In 2004, she released her fourth studio album titled Melao, which was a fusion of pop with reggaeton. In 2006, she returned to her musical roots with the album 40 Grados, (Forty Degrees) which was a huge hit and award winner in Italy, Spain and the Latin markets. The album featured the single “Como Duele” (“How It Hurts”),  which climbed to the Top Ten on US radio charts. Billboard reported the song in the Top Twenty of Latin Pop for an amazing thirty eight weeks and was nominated by Billboard as Pop Song of the Year.  The song was also chosen as the theme for the Mexican telenovela Barrera de Amor.

Her first English language single for the European market titled Caribbean Queen. was released in May 2009 mostly in Italy. The song is a cover version of Billy Ocean’s hit song of 1984 with added Lyrics and own personal flare by Noelia. In 2009 Actress and model Elisabetta Canalis released in Italy a compilation album “TOP HITS by Hollywood-Milano” (2009, Sony-BMG). This album included top singers from America in Europe, which included Noelia alongside Katy Perry, Pink and Lady Gaga. The compilation was certified platinum during the first week of sales.

In December of 2010, her first English world single “Here I Go Again” was released along with the music video. In mid-2011 Noelia broke a record for Hispanic online audience in the U.S. with her online concert produced by Hispanic Media Giant Univision. The concert attracted more than 3.5 million viewers.
Earlier this year Noelia released the single “Kiss Me”, which premiered on Univision.com and Peopleenespanol.com and was in the Top 40 Hot Latin Tracks according to Billboard Magazine of March 2012. She also graced the cover of Billboard Magazine during the first week of March 2012. On April 2, 2012,  “Kiss Me” appeared in the Billboard Charts both in the Dance and Latin Hot Track categories.

Her latest new release “My Everything”, produced by Timbaland debuted at #49 two weeks ago and quickly jumped to #25 on the Billboard Dance Charts.

She has graced the cover of various national and international known major magazines in the Latin and world-wide markets including Maxim Espanol USA, Maxim Mexico, H for Man and was named by People Magazine en Espanol as one of their Fifty Most Beautiful People.

This lady is not only a great achiever in the music industry but also a love giving hearted one. On her latest trip to Los Angeles from Miami, Noelia gave a generous donation of $20,000 to the Boys and Girls Club in hopes of saving them from closed doors. She was also recognized by the Los Angeles Mayor’s office as well as from the State Legislature for her kind contribution.

Currently, Noelia is gearing up for her Launch party in London and then embarking on a World Tour. She also hopes to find some time in her busy schedule to accept starring roles in upcoming feature films.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LatAm Hopes to Boost Regional Development by Focusing on Cultural Identities, Tradition

LatAm Hopes to Boost Regional Development by Focusing on Cultural Identities, Tradition

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Latin American culture ministers are promoting an agenda based on strengthening their countries’ identities and restoring their traditions as a fundamental element of regional development.

The 15th Ibero-American Conference of Culture Ministers ended Friday in the Spanish city of Salamanca, which has also played host this week to a gathering of education minsters and the Ibero-American Congress of Languages.

The ministers came out Friday in favor of giving values precedence over economic policies when it comes to ordering the redistribution of wealth, while making culture a basis of development.

The concept was communicated to Efe in interviews with culture ministers from Uruguay, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Peru.

“Culture is a core element for strengthening a sense of belonging and for developing identity,” Uruguay’s Ricardo Ehrlich said.

Guatemala believes that if culture is really accepted as a motor of development and of social cohesion, the scene will be set for promoting “development with identity,” Minister Carlos Enrique Batzin said.

Honduras’ Tulio Mariano Gonzales believes that culture “can and should” play an essential role in the region’s progress, while regretting that “unfortunately, the poorer a country is, the less it regards culture as a priority.”

For Costa Rica it is essential not to think only as countries but also about how to come together to create a cultural policy that aids development at a regional level, Minister Manuel Obregon said.

At the same time, Peru agreed to accept the challenge of including culture in its agenda, a matter currently “very neglected” and that is a “fundamental factor of development,” Minister Luis Peirano Falconi told Efe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Police Fear Being Sued Over SB 1070 Provision

Arizona Police Fear Being Sued Over SB 1070 Provision

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Arizona law enforcement agencies are concerned about the potential for lawsuits once the “show me your papers” provision of the state’s controversial immigration law takes effect.

“We can be sued by both sides, by those who don’t think we are applying the law and by others who believe we’re violating civil rights,” Tucson police chief Roberto Villaseñor told Efe.

Subsection 2(b) of state law SB 1070, which requires state and local law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally, is expected to come into force within the next two weeks.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Wednesday rejected a motion from the ACLU and other organizations asking her to issue a second injunction against Subsection 2(b).

That element of the law has remained on hold for more than two years thanks to an earlier injunction issued by Bolton in response to the Obama administration’s legal challenge to SB 1070.

Bolton had little choice but to dismiss the ACLU request after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to uphold Subsection 2(b).

“This legislation turns it into an obligation for police to question immigration status. Before, the officer had the choice to do it or not, depending on the case,” Villaseñor said.

Subsection 2(b) gives any Arizona citizen the right to sue a state or local law enforcement agency for failing to enforce show me your papers.

At the same time, people who feel they were racially profiled as a result of the measure can also file lawsuits.

“Police are trained to recognize behavior, not persons,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told Efe.

Dupnik, whose jurisdiction includes Tucson, said Subsection 2(b) will force police departments and sheriff’s offices to develop a “profile” of undocumented immigrants that is not based on ethnicity or physical appearance.

“This regulation will surely make our lives more difficult,” the sheriff said.

Tucson police will receive a guide to enforcing Subsection 2(b) as soon as the measure takes effect, Villaseñor said.

TPD officers will not use a single criterion in deciding whether to question someone’s immigration status, he said, while acknowledging that the lack of an Arizona driver’s license or other state-issued identification could constitute probable cause.

The U.S. Supreme Court left open the possibility that the federal judiciary might revisit Subsection 2(b) if it appears the measure is giving rise to racial profiling.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nicaragua Inching Towards Canal Construction with Financing from Chinese Firm

Nicaragua Inching Towards Canal Construction with Financing from Chinese Firm

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Nicaragua has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese company on financing for a $30 billion inter-oceanic canal, a government official told Efe on Friday.

The document was signed by Nicaraguan deputy foreign minister and president of the Grand Interoceanic Canal Authority, Manuel Coronel Kautz, and the head of the HK Nicaragua Development Inversion Company, Wing Jang, the official said.

In the MOU, the Nicaraguan government authorized the Hong Kong-domiciled firm to structure and manage the financing for the project, President Daniel Ortega said in comments posted on the government Web site El 19 Digital.

Nicaragua has also sought financing for the project from Brazil, China, Russia and Venezuela.

The Nicaraguan Congress, controlled by Ortega’s allies, approved a bill on July 3 authorizing construction of the inter-oceanic canal project, a joint public/private venture in which the state will have a 51 percent stake and offer the remaining 49 percent to countries, international organizations, corporations or individuals.

Initial projections are that the canal could be partially completed by 2019, when it would have the capacity to accommodate 416 million metric tons, or 3.9 percent of global maritime cargo.

The canal construction zone also will be declared “of public use,” with owners of the affected properties to be compensated by the Nicaraguan government within a period of no more than 10 years.

Nicaragua is studying six potential routes, all of which traverse a section of Lake Nicaragua and one that would have ships navigate a portion of the San Juan River, the Nicaraguan-controlled waterway that forms the country’s border with Costa Rica.

Three Dutch companies currently are conducting pre-feasibility studies for the construction of the canal, the Nicaraguan government says.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Presidential Candidate Henrique Capriles Challenges Hugo Chaves to Debate

Presidential Candidate Henrique Capriles Challenges Hugo Chaves to Debate

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Opposition hopeful Henrique Capriles on Friday challenged Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to a debate on the nation’s problems with exactly one month to go before the presidential election.

“I challenge the government, let us debate our ideas of government anywhere in the country,” Capriles said at a rally in the eastern state of Monagas.

Capriles, the 40-year-old former governor of the central state of Miranda, said the only debate that interests Chavez is an exchange of insults.

“Do you hear the government candidate making proposals? No, he wants to save the planet Earth, he wants to save humanity…and who’s going to solve our electricity problem?” the opposition candidate asked.

“And who will see to it that there are no more accidents in our oil industry like the one that just happened in Falcon?” he said in reference to an Aug. 25 explosion and fire at a refinery that left 42 dead, and which remains under investigation.

Capriles challenged Chavez to discuss the housing situation and the plight of those left homeless by natural disasters and who are still living in shelters today.

He again insisted that he will not abolish the social programs implemented by Chavez since he first took office in 1999.

Capriles said that on Oct. 8 when he wins the election, he will meet with Chavez’s supporters because, he said, “I will not rest until I see all Venezuelans united.”

He said that in the last month of the campaign it will be seen which candidate has the most energy between him and the 58-year-old Chavez, who spent much of the last 15 months battling cancer.

Close to 19 million Venezuelans are eligible to vote on Oct. 7 to decide among Chavez, Capriles and five independent candidates.

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6 Die of Burns After Truck Crashed into Gas Station in Cuba

6 Die of Burns After Truck Crashed into Gas Station in Cuba

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Six of the 32 people hurt last week in a fire at a gas station in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba have died, Cuban official media said Friday.

Of the 17 people who remain hospitalized after the blaze, eight are in critical condition and three others are listed as “very serious,” according to Sierra Maestra, the official Communist Party daily in Santiago de Cuba.

Most of the dead succumbed to “generalized infections” arising from severe burns, the newspaper said.

The surviving injured people range in age from 16 to 49.

The fire started the night of Aug. 28 when “a state truck collided with one of the gasoline pumps” at the service station in Santiago, Cuba’s second city, located about 950 kilometers (590 miles) east of Havana.

The crash caused a fuel spill, with experts concluding that spark from a nearby motorcycle may have ignited the gasoline, state television said.

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Barcelona Tourism Industry to Expand with 6 New Hotel, Casino Complexes

Barcelona Tourism Industry to Expand with 6 New Hotel, Casino Complexes

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The government of Spain’s Catalonia region announced Friday a tourism project with an investment of $6 billion (4.74 billion euros) for the construction of six new complexes featuring hotels and casinos.

Executives of Barcelona World broke the news at a press conference and said the project could create up to 40,000 jobs in all.

They also expect to have 10 million visitors a year and plan to build the biggest leisure center in Europe, with the completion date set for late 2016.

The regional Catalan government described Barcelona World as an alternative to the Eurovegas complex of U.S. magnate Sheldon Adelson, for which Madrid and Barcelona were competing and which will finally be built in the Spanish capital.

The investor in this alternative project is the Veremonte group, whose chief shareholder is Spanish entrepreneur Enrique Bañuelos, and which will be built on land belonging to the La Caixa bank near the Port Aventura theme park.

The promoters’ idea is to take advantage of Port Aventura’s strong attraction to build around it six themed tourist complexes based on six of the world’s geographical areas: Europe, the United States, China, Brazil, Russia and India.

The project is planned to have six hotels with some 12,000 rooms, along with restaurants and a casino for each complex.

During the press conference, the Catalan government said that the project is basically related to leisure and tourism, and that the casinos are an extra.

The press and various citizens’ groups in Barcelona and Madrid have criticized the Eurovegas complex because of its predictable mass of casinos and gambling facilities.

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SaturdaySeptember 8, 2012